Itâ€™s only fitting.
In the last Division III poll of the season, Plattsburgh State finally won over the last of its critics, securing all 20 first place votes. The Cardinals, who defeated storied rival Oswego 5-4 in overtime of the SUNYAC title game, is the NCAA tournamentâ€™s top seed and will face off on Saturday against the winner of ECAC West foes Neumann and Elmira.
The University of Wisconsin-Stout, ranked third for most of 2009, finally got past oft–second ranked UW-Superior–by beating them on the ice (and in their building), 4-3. By stinging the Yellowjackets in the NCHA championship game, the Blue Devils received an automatic bid to the tournament.
They will host conference rival St. Scholastica in a quarterfinal match-up on Saturday.
Superior, now No. 3, will host MIAC champion Gustavus Adolphus.
By virtue of their impressive run through the NESCAC tournament (concluding with a 3-0 shutout of Trinity and 5-2 drubbing of perennial national tournament entrant Middlebury), Amherst ascended two spots to fourth.
Idle St. Scholastica remained fifth, while Hobart, who lost 3-2 to previously unranked Neumann in the ECAC West title tilt, fell two rungs to sixth on the D-III ladder.
Adrian, sporting a 27-1-1 record, finished the season as MCHA regular season and playoff champion, yet failed to receive a bid for the national tournament and remained seventh in the country.
Despite not playing a game last week (Elmira was upset by Neumann in the ECAC West semis), the Soaring Eagles flew three spots to eighth and get another shot at the Knights in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
By virtue of their conference title loss to Amherst, the Panthers from Middlebury fell one position to ninth. Ditto for idle Manhattanville, who finished the season at No. 10.
Despite nearly upsetting top-ranked Plattsburgh in their own barn, the Oswego Lakers also fell one spot to No. 11.
The new-No. 12 is Neumann. Capturing the ECAC West crown with an upset of Hobart, the 17-9-2 Knights shot up five spots, garnering a much-deserved 87 votes this week after just 11 in the previous poll.
ECAC Northeast champion Nichols, who bested both Fitchburg State and Wentworth in their conference tournament, remained at No. 13. The Bison are 25-3-0 on the season.
Defending national champion St. Norbert, idle after a NCHA semifinal loss to UW-Superior, finished the season out of the NCAAs and ranked No. 14 in the country.
Despite winning the MIAC title with an impressive 5-2 dismantling of Hamline, Gustavus Adolphus fell one spot to No. 15, while ECAC East champion Babson (13-13-1) did not garner a spot among the nationâ€™s elite.
Previously No. 15 Curryâ€™s loss in the ECAC Northeast semis to Wentworth knocked them out of the poll.